There are two major methods for hosting and managing code thru Git: monorepo vs multi-repo. Each approaches have their execs and cons.

We will use both way for any codebase in any language. You’ll use any of those methods for tasks containing a handful of libraries to hundreds of them. Despite the fact that it comes to a couple of workforce contributors or masses, or you need to host non-public or open-source code, you’ll nonetheless pass with monorepo or multi-repo in accordance with more than a few elements.

What are the advantages and downsides of each and every way? When will have to we use one or the opposite? Let’s in finding out!

What Are Repos?

A repo (brief for repository) is a garage for all of the adjustments and recordsdata from a assignment, enabling builders to “model keep an eye on” the assignment’s belongings during its building level.

We normally confer with Git repositories (as supplied via GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket), however the concept that additionally applies to different model keep an eye on programs (akin to Mercurial).

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What Is a Monorepo?

The monorepo way makes use of a unmarried repository to host all of the code for the a couple of libraries or services and products composing an organization’s tasks. At its maximum excessive, the entire codebase from an organization — spanning more than a few tasks and coded in numerous languages — is hosted in one repository.

Advantages of Monorepo

Internet hosting the entire codebase on a unmarried repository supplies the next advantages.

Lowers Limitations of Access

When new group of workers contributors get started operating for a corporation, they want to obtain the code and set up the specified equipment to start operating on their duties. Think the assignment is scattered throughout many repositories, each and every having its set up directions and tooling required. If so, the preliminary setup shall be complicated, and extra continuously than now not, the documentation might not be entire, requiring those new workforce contributors to achieve out to colleagues for assist.

A monorepo simplifies issues. Since there’s a unmarried location containing all code and documentation, you’ll streamline the preliminary setup.

Centrally Situated Code Control

Having a unmarried repository provides visibility of all of the code to all builders. It simplifies code control since we will be able to use a unmarried factor tracker to look at all problems during the applying’s lifestyles cycle.

As an example, those traits are treasured when a topic spans two (or extra) kid libraries with the trojan horse current at the dependent library. With a couple of repositories, it can be difficult to find the piece of code the place the issue occurs.

On best of this, we might want to work out which repository to make use of to create the problem after which invite and cross-tag contributors of different groups to assist unravel the issue.

With a monorepo, despite the fact that, each finding code issues and taking part to troubleshoot grow to be more practical to succeed in.

Painless Software-Vast Refactorings

When developing an application-wide refactoring of the code, a couple of libraries shall be affected. Should you’re webhosting them by means of a couple of repositories, managing all of the other pull requests to stay them synchronized with each and every different can turn out to be a problem.

A monorepo makes it simple to accomplish all changes to all code for all libraries and put up it beneath a unmarried pull request.

Extra Tricky To Wreck Adjoining Capability

With the monorepo, we will be able to arrange all assessments for all libraries to run every time any unmarried library is changed. Because of this, the chance of doing a metamorphosis in some libraries has minimized adversarial results on different libraries.

Groups Percentage Building Tradition

Although now not inconceivable, with a monorepo way, it turns into difficult to encourage distinctive subcultures amongst other groups. Since they’ll proportion the similar repository, they’re going to perhaps proportion the similar programming and control methodologies and use the similar development tools.

Problems With the Monorepo Way

The use of a unmarried repository for all our code has a number of drawbacks.

Slower Building Cycles

When the code for a library comprises breaking adjustments, which make the assessments for dependent libraries fail, the code should even be mounted prior to merging the adjustments.

If those libraries rely on different groups, who’re busy operating on another activity and don’t seem to be in a position (or keen) to evolve their code to steer clear of the breaking adjustments and feature the assessments move, the advance of the brand new function might stall.

What’s extra, the assignment might neatly get started advancing simplest on the velocity of the slowest workforce within the corporate. This consequence may just frustrate the contributors of the quickest groups, developing prerequisites for them to wish to go away the corporate.

As well as, a library will want to run the assessments for all different libraries too. The more tests to run, the extra time it takes to run them, slowing down how briskly we will be able to iterate on our code.

Calls for Obtain of Complete Codebase

When the monorepo comprises all of the code for a corporation, it may be massive, containing gigabytes of information. To give a contribution to any library hosted inside of, any one will require a obtain of the entire repository.

Coping with an unlimited codebase implies a deficient use of house on our arduous drives and slower interactions with it. As an example, on a regular basis movements akin to executing git standing or looking within the codebase with a regex might take many seconds and even mins longer than they might with a couple of repos.

Unmodified Libraries Would possibly Be Newly Versioned

Once we tag the monorepo, all code inside of is assigned the brand new tag. If this motion triggers a brand new liberate, then all libraries hosted within the repository shall be newly launched with the model quantity from the tag, even if a lot of the ones libraries won’t have had any alternate.

Forking Is Extra Tricky

Open supply tasks should make it as simple as imaginable for members to grow to be concerned. With a couple of repositories, members can head at once to the particular repository for the assignment they wish to give a contribution to. With a monorepo webhosting more than a few tasks, despite the fact that, members should first navigate their method into the proper assignment and can want to know the way their contribution might have an effect on all different tasks.

What Is Multi-Repo?

The multi-repo way makes use of a number of repositories to host the a couple of libraries or services and products of a assignment evolved via an organization. At its maximum excessive, it’ll host each and every minimal set of reusable code or standalone capability (akin to a microservice) beneath its repository.

Advantages of Multi-Repo

Internet hosting each and every library independently of all others supplies a plethora of advantages.

Impartial Library Versioning

When tagging a repository, its entire codebase is assigned the “new” tag. Since simplest the code for a selected library is at the repository, the library can also be tagged and versioned independently of all different libraries hosted somewhere else.

Having an unbiased model for each and every library is helping outline the dependency tree for the applying, permitting us to configure what model of each and every library to make use of.

Impartial Provider Releases

For the reason that repository simplest comprises the code for some provider and not anything else, it could possibly have its personal deployment cycle, independently of any development made at the packages gaining access to it.

The provider can use a quick liberate cycle akin to steady supply (the place new code is deployed after it passes all of the assessments). Some libraries gaining access to the provider might use a slower liberate cycle, akin to those who simplest produce a brand new liberate as soon as per week.

Is helping Outline Get admission to Regulate Around the Group

Most effective the workforce contributors concerned with creating a library want to be added to the corresponding repository and obtain its code. Because of this, there’s an implicit get entry to keep an eye on technique for each and every layer within the application. The ones concerned with the library shall be granted modifying rights, and everybody else might get no get entry to to the repository. Or they is also given studying however now not modifying rights.

Permits Groups To Paintings Autonomously

Crew contributors can design the library’s structure and put in force its code operating in isolation from all different groups. They are able to make choices in accordance with what the library does within the common context with out being suffering from the particular necessities from some exterior workforce or utility.

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Problems With the Multi-Repo Way

The use of a couple of repositories can provide upward thrust to a number of problems.

Libraries Will have to Repeatedly Be Resynced

When a brand new model of a library containing breaking adjustments is launched, libraries relying in this library will want to be tailored to start out the use of the newest model. If the discharge cycle of the library is quicker than that of its dependent libraries, they might temporarily grow to be out of sync with each and every different.

Groups will want to continuously catch up to make use of the newest releases from different groups. For the reason that other groups have other priorities, this will likely infrequently turn out laborious to succeed in.

In consequence, a workforce now not in a position to catch up might finally end up sticking to the old-fashioned model of the depended-upon library. This consequence could have implications at the utility (relating to safety, velocity, and different concerns), and the distance in building throughout libraries might simplest get wider.

Would possibly Fragment Groups

When other groups don’t want to engage, they are going to paintings in their very own silos. In the longer term, this would lead to groups generating their subcultures inside the corporate, akin to using other methodologies of programming or control or using other units of building equipment.

If some workforce member ultimately must paintings in a unique workforce, they are going to endure somewhat of tradition surprise and be told a new way of doing their job.

Monorepo vs Multi-Repo: Number one Variations

Each approaches in the end care for the similar goal: managing the codebase. Therefore, they should each resolve the similar demanding situations, together with liberate control, fostering collaboration among team members, dealing with problems, working assessments, and others.

Their major distinction issues their timing on workforce contributors to make choices: both in advance for monorepo or down the road for multi-repo.

Let’s analyze this concept in additional element.

As a result of all libraries are versioned independently within the multi-repo, a workforce liberating a library with breaking adjustments can do it safely via assigning a brand new primary model quantity to the newest liberate. Different teams will have their dependent libraries stick with the outdated model and turn to the brand new one as soon as their code has been tailored.

This way leaves the verdict of when to evolve all different libraries to each and every accountable workforce, who can do it at any time. In the event that they do it too overdue and new library variations are launched, ultimate the distance throughout libraries will grow to be an increasing number of tough.

In consequence, whilst one workforce can iterate rapid and continuously on their code, different groups might turn out not able to catch up, in the end generating libraries that diverge.

Then again, in a monorepo setting, we can not liberate a brand new model of 1 library that breaks another library since their assessments will fail. On this case, the primary workforce should keep in touch with the second one workforce to include the adjustments.

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This way forces groups to evolve all libraries altogether every time a metamorphosis for a unmarried library should occur. All groups are compelled to speak to one another and succeed in an answer in combination.

Because of this, the primary workforce won’t be able to iterate as rapid as they want to, however the code throughout other libraries will at no level get started diverging.

In abstract, the multi-repo way can assist create a tradition of “transfer rapid and damage issues” amongst groups, the place nimble unbiased groups can produce their output at their velocity. As a substitute, the monorepo way favors a tradition of consciousness and care, the place groups will have to now not be left at the back of to care for an issue all via themselves.

Hybrid Poly-As-Mono Way

If we will be able to’t make a decision if to make use of both the multi-repo or monorepo approaches, there may be the in-between way: to make use of a couple of repositories and make use of some instrument to stay them synchronized, making it resemble a monorepo however with extra flexibility.

Meta is one such instrument. It organizes a couple of repositories beneath subdirectories and gives a command-line interface that executes the similar command on they all concurrently.

A meta-repository comprises the guidelines on which repositories make up a assignment. Cloning this repository by means of meta will then recursively clone all of the required repositories, making it more uncomplicated for brand spanking new workforce contributors to start out operating on their tasks instantly.

To clone a meta-repository and all its outlined a couple of repos, we should execute the next:

meta git clone [meta repo url]

Meta will execute a git clone for each and every repository and position it in a subfolder:

Cloning a meta project

Cloning a meta-project. (Symbol supply:

From then on, executing the meta exec command will execute the command on each and every subfolder. As an example, executing git checkout grasp on each and every repository is completed like this:

meta exec "git checkout grasp"

Hybrid Mono-As-Poly Way

Any other way is managing the code by means of a monorepo for building, however copying each and every library’s code into its unbiased repository for deployment.

This technique is prevalent inside the PHP ecosystem as a result of Packagist (the primary Composer repository) calls for a public repository URL to put up a package deal, and it’s now not imaginable to suggest that the package deal is situated inside of a subdirectory of the repository.

Given the Packagist limitation, PHP projects can still use a monorepo for development, however they should use the multi-repo way for deployment.

To reach this conversion, we will be able to execute a script with git subtree split Or use one of the most to be had equipment which carry out the similar common sense:

Who’s The use of Monorepo vs Multi-Repo

A number of large tech firms choose the monorepo way, whilst others have made up our minds to make use of the multi-repo manner.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Uber have all publicly vouched for the monorepo way. Microsoft runs the largest Git monorepo on the planet to host the supply code of the Home windows running device.

At the reverse facet, Netflix, Amazon, and Lyft are well-known firms the use of the multi-repo way.

At the hybrid poly-as-mono facet, Android updates a couple of repositories, which can be controlled like a monorepo.

At the hybrid mono-as-poly facet, Symfony assists in keeping the code for all of its elements in a monorepo. They break up it into unbiased repositories for deployment (akin to symfony/dependency-injection and symfony/event-dispatcher.)

Examples of Monorepo and Multi-Repo

The WordPress account on GitHub hosts examples of each the monorepo and multi-repo approaches.

Gutenberg, the WordPress block editor, consists of a number of dozen JavaScript programs. Those programs are all hosted at the WordPress/gutenberg monorepo and controlled thru Lerna to assist put up them within the npm repository.

Openverse, the hunt engine for overtly authorized media, hosts its main parts in unbiased repositories: Front-end, Catalog, and API.

Monorepo vs Multi-Repo: Methods to Make a choice?

As with many building issues, there is not any predefined resolution on which way you need to use. Other firms and tasks will take pleasure in one technique or the opposite in accordance with their distinctive prerequisites, akin to:

  • How large is the codebase? Does it comprise gigabytes of information?
  • What number of people will paintings at the codebase? Is it round 10, 100, or 1,000?
  • What number of programs will there be? Is it round 10, 100, or 1,000?
  • What number of programs does the workforce want to paintings on at a given time?
  • How tightly coupled are the programs?
  • Are other programming languages concerned? Do they require a specific software put in or particular {hardware} to run?
  • What number of deployment equipment are required, and the way complicated are they to arrange?
  • What’s the tradition within the corporate? Are groups inspired to collaborate?
  • What tools and technologies do the groups understand how to make use of?

Which approach should you take for your codebase? 🤔 Learn more here 👇Click to Tweet


There are two major methods for webhosting and managing code: monorepo vs multi-repo. The monorepo way involves storing the code for various libraries or tasks — or even all code from an organization — in one repository. And the multi-repo device divides the code into devices, akin to libraries or services and products, and assists in keeping their code hosted in unbiased repositories.

Which way to make use of will depend on a large number of prerequisites. Each methods have a number of benefits and drawbacks, and we’ve simply lined they all intimately on this article.

Do you could have any questions left about monorepos or multi-repos? Tell us within the feedback segment!

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